What Will Phil Get Away With Next?

From an unbylined wire service story:

Phil Mickelson will compete in the EDS Byron Nelson Championship today despite missing yesterday's pre-tournament pro-am.

PGA Tour rules state that a player missing a pro-am is automatically disqualified from the tournament, except for "extenuating circumstances".

Mickelson had planned to fly into town in his private jet late Tuesday night from nearby Little Rock, Arkansas, roughly a one-hour flight, in time for his 7am pro-am tee time, but the Dallas Love Field airport was closed due to severe thunderstorms.

Instead, he spent the night in Little Rock, arriving here at TPC Four Seasons resort shortly after 11am yesterday. Mickelson, it seems, was happy to play an afternoon pro-am, but the tour decided not to rearrange the tee times. Instead, he had lunch with the amateurs he was supposed to have played with.

"Phil was prepared to play in the afternoon. It wasn't his decision not to play," said Mickelson spokesman TR Reinman.

The PGA Tour's decision to allow Mickelson to play in the tournament was greeted with cynicism by some fellow players, who accused the tour of having a double standard, recalling that Retief Goosen was disqualified from the 2005 Nissan Open for missing his pro-am tee time, after oversleeping.

But the tour issued a statement defending its decision.

"Phil did everything physically possible to get here Tuesday night, but was grounded in Little Rock due to circumstances completely beyond his control," said tour executive vice president Henry Hughes.

Eight-time PGA Tour winner Stuart Appleby said the appropriate question was whether Mickelson had made every effort to get into town in time for the pro-am.

"I'm sure a lot of players think it's a very dodgy decision," said Appleby, who was curious to know whether Mickelson could have arrived at the crack of dawn in time to play.

"Each situation has to be looked at independently. If a player makes a reasonable effort, he gets a pass. If he doesn't, he should be disqualified. I don't care who you are.

And Stuart, do you think he made a reasonable attempt?

"If the (Dallas) airport was open in the early hours this morning, what I would say to my pilot is 'I've got to be in Dallas at 5.30am. If it's open, call me and wake me up."

That's a no.

I did go back and try to dig up the stories on Goosen's 2005 DQ at Riviera and after oversleeping, he did make it to the property just after his tee time.

I say it's all Rick Smith's fault.